May waits for further Brexit resignations
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is braced for more cabinet resignations that would presumably spark a challenge to her position, as her Brexit strategy faced a collapse.
Pro-leave environment minister Michael Gove is reportedly considering whether to resign, after apparently refusing to the Brexit ministerial role, vacated yesterday (Thursday) by Dominic Raab.
Gove apparently called for the draft agreement with the EU to be renegotiated, and for the November 25 summit to be cancelled.
Fellow leaver Penny Mordaunt, the international development minister, is thought to be still mulling a resignation.
The enfeebled May defiantly told the media: “Am I going to see this through? Yes.”
Brexit-extremist Jacob Rees-Mogg said he had submitted a letter of no confidence in May although more Conservative MPs need to come forward to trigger a vote.
Esther McVey, the work and pensions minister, followed Raab out of the door on Thursday, and two junior ministers, two unpaid aides and a trade envoy also resigned.
Even if she keeps her job, May’s hopes of a parliamentary majority appear non-existent.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has quashed hopes that the EU could step to offer further concessions.
She said a no-deal Brexit would be the “worst and most chaotic scenario” but signalled her reluctance to yield more ground.
“We have a document on the table that Britain and the remaining 27 EU states have agreed,” Merkel said. “There is, as far as I am concerned, no question of further bargaining at present.”
German industry has warned firms to brace themselves for a hard Brexit.
Olaf Scholz, the finance minister, said it would be “problematic for the entire European Union” but disastrous for the UK.
Deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party Tom Watson has said another EU referendum is now “more likely” than before.
He said chaos in parliament made a people’s vote far more likely.
Labour’s official policy is currently to push for a general election if May cannot win Commons backing for her deal and a referendum remains on the table if no election is held.
Watson said the first step was to amend May’s deal in the Commons.
“If you get to the point, and it’s looking more likely, where parliament cannot decide what the best option is, we think that’s the point where you go to the people in a general election. They voted to leave the European Union, they didn’t vote for food shortages or problems with medical supplies or not to be able to sell goods to the European markets.
“They voted to bring sovereignty back to the UK.
“If that plan isn’t going to work the way to do it is to put your option to the people in a general election. If we don’t get that, then obviously a people’s vote is still on the table and our position has not changed.”
Protesters in London demand a people’s vote. Picture credit: Eurasia Times